Look­ing Into You: A Trib­ute to Jack­son Browne

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Mahir Ali

Var­i­ous artists Mu­sic Road/The Planet Com­pany JACK­SON Browne made his mark as a pre­co­ciously tal­ented teenage song­writer well be­fore he trou­bled the charts with his dis­tinc­tive brand of west coast soft rock in the mid-1970s. It is sur­pris­ing, there­fore, that it has taken so long for a cov­ers com­pi­la­tion to ap­pear. It’s a com­pre­hen­sive pack­age, though, stretch­ing across two discs, and the im­pres­sive ros­ter of con­trib­u­tors ranges from Browne con­tem­po­raries to younger afi­ciona­dos. Don Hen­ley ap­pro­pri­ately kicks off pro­ceed­ings with

These Days, a song that Browne came up with at the ten­der age of 16, fol­lowed by Bon­nie Raitt and David Lind­ley’s take on Every­where I Go. The al­bum con­tains sev­eral of Browne’s best­known songs, from the un­fail­ingly evoca­tive

Run­ning on Empty (Bob Sch­nei­der) and Foun­tain of Sorrow (In­digo Girls) to The Pre­tender (Lucinda Wil­liams) and Late for the Sky (Joan Os­borne), with one galling ex­cep­tion: the peren­ni­ally top­i­cal Lives in the Bal­ance. It would have been in­ter­est­ing to hear Bruce Spring­steen have a go, but he and Patti Scialfa tackle Linda

Paloma in­stead — and, as one would ex­pect, it’s a stand­out. El­iza Gilkyson de­liv­ers an ex­quis­ite take on Be­fore the Del­uge, and there are em­i­nently lis­ten­able ver­sions of For Ev­ery­man, Ja­maica Say You Will, Rock Me on the Wa­ter, Rosie and Call It a Loan by Jimmy LaFave, Ben Harper, Keb’ Mo’, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin re­spec­tively. It is hard to es­cape the sense, though, that a more ad­ven­tur­ous ap­proach to the song­book, with fewer of the per­form­ers rev­er­en­tially ad­her­ing to the Browne tem­plate, would have yielded a more in­ter­est­ing al­bum.

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